Winter storms bring more than snow to campus

Winter storms bring more than snow to campus

Imagine waking on a frigid Sunday morning to move your car after a recent snowstorm, only to find it’s been towed. That’s what happened to many students, including freshman Conner Skultety Jan. 21.

“I knew it snowed some,” Skultety said. “I never thought once they’d start towing vehicles that soon, especially on a weekend.”

According to Indianola Police Chief Steve Bonnett, 35 cars were towed citywide and 69 tickets were written.

“I didn’t even know about the ordinance because I was out when they sent the e-mail,” freshman Maggie Schuttler said. “I found out Sunday afternoon. Someone else told me my car was towed.”

The City of Indianola’s snow ordinance is put into effect when two inches of snow is predicted or has already fallen. During the ordinance, people are required to move their cars off the streets for 48 hours after the snow has stopped or until the roads are cleared.

Bonnett said he normally makes the decision to put the ordinance into effect.

“It rarely lasts the full 48 hours,” Bonnett said. “We make massive notifications to TV and radio stations, and an announcement is made on the city’s Web site and cable channel. Simpson receives both a phone call and a fax.”

Bonnett also said the ordinance is not enforced for four-to-five hours to give people a chance to respond and move their cars. If cars aren’t moved, their owners risk getting a $35 ticket, and if their car is towed, they will receive a towing bill of $50 to $60.

“We’re not doing this to punish people,” Bonnett said. “We’re just trying to make it easy for the street department to get the roads cleared.”

Many students get discouraged about parking during winter weather.

“When it snows, the lots fill up pretty fast, and it can be hard to find a spot,” Skultety said.

Lots fill up fast when snow falls, but 1,140 parking spots are available for students.

“The baseball parking lot is under-utilized. I always see open spots there,” said Jesus Mendez, director of campus services.

The maintenance staff on campus has been out in full force the last several weeks, clearing sidewalks and parking lots. Mendez starts early, tracking weather forecasts and predicting when the snow will fall.

“We make sure our staff is available, and we always try to have the snow cleared in a timely fashion,” Mendez said.

While the maintenance staff doesn’t have a direct role in the parking situation, they are able to provide help whenever necessary.

“Security does approach us for ideas and suggestions,” Grounds Manager Jeff Wagner said.

Overall, Wagner and Mendez think students do a good job of keeping their vehicles in the designated lots and out of spaces that are used for snow removal.

“That’s important,” said Wagner. “These are difficult lots to plow, and we take a lot of care.”